Baseball Local Rules (all Divisions)

2017 Bobcat Local Rules (All Divisions)

The Tinley Park Bobcats have adopted the following Local Rules for their recreation league baseball program. Any rules not specifically addressed here revert first to Pony Baseball rules and then MLB. When Bobcats recreation league teams play against teams from other recreation leagues, different league rules may be in effect instead of these local rules, such as bat size.

  1. To be a Manager in the Bobcats is a privilege. Both managers are responsible for the conduct of their players, coaches, and fans. Together with the umpire, both managers are responsible for ensuring a positive experience is realized. All participants and spectators at any Bobcats game are subject to the Code of Conduct.
  2. At no time will any player, manager, coach or fan be allowed to confront, badger, or in any way intimidate the umpire for any reason. An umpire can eject any player, coach, or fan from the ball park for abusive conduct. The umpire should, but is not required to, issue a warning prior to an ejection. Abusive conduct includes swearing, throwing equipment, verbal or physical intimidation of an umpire, player, coach, or fan.
  3. No new inning can be started after one (1) hour forty-five minutes. An inning started can be finished only if there is no game to follow. All games must end by the start of the following game, no matter what the situation. If a game is delayed for any reason, the game must be shortened to accommodate the following game.
  4. Games stopped due to time limits are considered complete and final score reverts to last completed inning including ties. Non-regulation games postponed due to rain should be made up depending on field availability. (Shetland/Pinto/Mustang Division, Game length 6 innings, regulation 4 innings) (Bronco/Pony Division, Game length 7 innings, regulation 5 innings) * 1/2 inning less if home team is ahead.
  5. The results of each game must be reported to your League Rep (that day) by BOTH the home and visiting team.
  6. Rainouts or other cancellations must be immediately reported to the League Rep. We need to notify umpires ASAP so we are not charged for show-up fees. All rescheduling of games must be done through the DIVISION COMMISSIONER to assure availability of fields and umpires. If an umpire doesn’t show-up, the managers may choose a mutually agreed upon umpire from the stands to fill in for him. Notify your League Rep regarding the no show.
  7. Continuous batting order and free substitution (except pitcher cannot return as a pitcher) are required. Maximum of 5 runs per inning, fielding team then bats even though 3 outs have not been recorded. Please keep the games moving, allowing the KIDS TO PLAY as many innings as possible. Pinch run for your catcher (entering as catcher NEXT inning) when there are 2 outs. Limit warm up pitches to 8 between innings and relief pitchers are allowed a maximum of 10 warm up pitches. Avoid excessive timeouts for discussions with the batter and visits to the mound. Time-out can only be called by the umpire. (Coach can ask umpire to call a time-out.)
  8. Home team manager is responsible for setting up the field, putting the bases and pitching rubber away, raking out the pitcher’s mound, batter’s box and bases, supplying game balls, and signs the umpire’s form.  (Division Shetland/Pinto Baseline 50′ Rubber 38′)(Division Mustang Baseline 60′ Rubber 44′)(Division Bronco Baseline 70′ Rubber 48′)(Division Pony Baseline 80′ Rubber 54′)
  9. Each player is required to play a full 4 innings in the field each game. No player sits a second inning before every player sits at least one inning. Exceptions are allowed for disciplinary reasons or if the home team does not take the field in the last inning. If a team does not have 9 players, the team may use players from another Bobcat team. Teams cannot borrow more players than they need to field a team (9). If a missing player(s) shows up during the game, the borrowed player(s) must finish the game and the late arrivals will be added to the end of the batting order. Borrowed players are limited to playing the outfield and batting at the end of the batting order. During regular season play, a team can play with 8 players without being assessed an automatic out. Any less than 8 players, and that spot in the batting order is automatically out.  (Division Pinto, Infield Minimum 2 innings, Source of Borrowed Players Regular Season Shetland/Pinto, Source of Borrowed Players Playoffs Shetland) (Division Mustang, Infield Minimum 2 innings, Source of Borrowed Players Regular Season Pinto/Mustang, Source of Borrowed Players Playoffs Pinto)(Division Bronco, Infield Minimum 1 inning, Source of Borrowed Players Regular Season Mustang/Bronco, Source of Borrowed Players Playoffs Mustang) (Division Pony, Infield Minimum 0 inning, Source of Borrowed Players Regular Season Bronco, Source of Borrowed Players Playoffs Bronco)
  10. All players must be properly equipped. All batters and base runners are required to wear helmets; in Pinto helmets with cages are required. Warm-up catchers must wear a catcher’s helmet. With the exception of Pony, maximum bat size is 2 5/8 (No 2 3/4 barrels). Pony will abide by rules set between them and competing organizations. Effective 2016, all in house leagues will follow the bat requirement rules set forth by USSSA.  (Division Shetland, Athletic supporter w/cup recommended, Metal Spikes NO) (Division Pinto/Mustang/Bronco Athletic supporter w/cup required, Metal Spikes NO) (Division Pony Athletic supporter w/cup required, Metal Spikes Allowed)
  11. In case of injury, the umpire calls the ball dead, all play stops, and runners advance to the base they were traveling to.
  12. Fielders may not block a base/plate unless they have the ball. (In the Pinto Division, fielders can      never block a base/plate.) On all plays where the ball arrives before or at the same time as the runner, the runner MUST slide. If the runner does not slide and there is physical contact with the fielder, the runner is out. If the contact is deemed malicious with a deliberate intent to run over or into the fielder, in addition to being called out, the umpire can eject the runner from the game. All other runners return to last base occupied.
  13. A coach may not physically impede or help any runner. If he does, the ball is dead, the runner is out and other runners return to the last base occupied.
    Division Balks Dropped

    3rd Strikes

    Walks Bunting Infield

    Fly Rule

    Obstruction Leadoffs Stealing
    Shetland NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

14A.For Pinto Division, no lead-offs or stealing allowed. Runners must remain in contact with the base until the pitch is hit. Umpires should issue a warning to both teams if runners are leaving early. If runners continue to leave the base early the umpire should call a “no pitch”. The offending runner is out and all other runners return to base occupied before the pitch.

14B. For Mustang Division, no lead-offs with modified stealing. Runners must remain in contact with the base until the pitch reaches or passes the catcher. Runners may steal at their own risk by breaking for the next base as the ball reaches the catcher. Umpires should issue a warning to both teams if runners are leaving early. If runners continue to leave the base early the umpire should call a “no pitch”. The offending runner is out and all other runners return to base occupied before the pitch.

15. In Mustang Division, runners cannot do any form of delayed steal. If a runner performs a delayed steal, the umpire shall return all runners to their positions prior to the pitch. The umpire shall issue a warning to both teams. If a subsequent runner attempts a delayed steal the umpire shall call him out, the ball is dead and all other runners return to the base occupied prior to the pitch. Running on an overthrow back to the pitcher is considered a delay steal and is therefore not allowed. There is no stealing home. The runner must stay at third, even in the case of an overthrow by the catcher making a play on a steal of third base. If a pick-off play is made by the fielding team (any position player) on a runner, then the runner can advance. This INCLUDES a runner at 3rd base. If a runner is at 3rd base prior to the pitch being thrown and any position player plays on the runner while taking a secondary lead, the runner can advance home. Runners may not advance a base once the pitcher has the ball. If the runner is more than half way, he may advance. If the pitcher procures the ball on the mound and proceeds to put the ball back in play (i.e. make a play on the runner), then the ball is considered live. This will NOT be a judgment call by the umpire.

16. A player may not pitch more innings than allowed below (1 pitch constitutes an inning.)

Division Max innings per game Max innings per day (DH) Max innings per week
Pinto 2 innings 2 innings 6 innings
Mustang 2 innings 3 innings 6 innings
Bronco 3 innings 6 innings 7 innings
Pony 7 innings 7 innings 10 innings

17. For Bronco (and up) pitchers who pitch max innings in a game/day (or 4 innings for Pony) must have 40 hours rest before he is eligible to pitch again. The 40 hours is based on the start times of the games. For example, a player who pitches 3 innings in a 6pm game on Thursday, is ineligible to pitch until the 10AM game on Saturday. The max innings per week is based on the week starting from 12:01AM Monday to 12:00 Midnight on Sunday. Modified rule for Pinto & Mustang in that if a pitcher pitches 2 innings one day, he can only pitch 1 the next (3 innings in 2 day rule).

18.If a pitcher hits 2 batters in the same inning or 3 in a game due to wildness and not crowding the plate, the umpire will instruct the coach to remove the pitcher.

Special Mustang Division Local Rules

  1. A team can bunt once an inning. If a player attempts to bunt and misses, the same player in the same at bat can attempt again. Should the player choose not to attempt another bunt in that at bat, that still counts as a team bunt for that particular inning.
  2. A player can attempt to bunt one at bat per game. So, if in the first inning a player attempted to bunt (whether it was put in play or not), he is NOT allowed to attempt a bunt for the remainder of the game. Should he attempt to bunt multiple at bats in a game, he will be called out. WHILE BUNTING IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE GAME, WE WANT ALL KIDS TO TRY HITTING THE BALL.

Special Pinto Division Local Rules

  1. Players will pitch all 6 innings. If the pitcher throws 4 balls before 3 strikes, then the coach from the hitting team will go to the pitching mound and finish pitching to the hitter, taking over the strike count that the hitter had. The pitcher MUST position himself on the coach’s glove side for his own protection.
  2. If a pitcher is excessively wild, an umpire will instruct the manager to remove him. Hit batters are often a problem at this age, not only due to lack of control by the pitcher but also to batters crowding the plate. Coaches and umpires should instruct batters to stand at least 6 inches from the plate, which is where the batters box line should be. If a pitcher hits 2 batters in the same inning due to wildness and not crowding the plate, the umpire will instruct the coach to remove the pitcher. If a pitch hits a batter he gets to go to first base. This is the only way a batter can get to first base without hitting a ball.
  3. If a batter is hit by a pitch, the batter can either take their base or continue to bat. Should they continue to bat, coach will come in and pitch. If the coach comes in to pitch, the batter starts with a 0/0 count.
  4. Pinto teams will play with 9 position players. Outfielders must position themselves on the grass.
  5. When the ball is hit to the outfield, the runners must stop once the ball is secured at a base or anywhere inside the base diamond. Once secured, if the runner is halfway to the next base, they are awarded that base. Otherwise, the umpire will send them back to the pervious base. If there is an overthrow from the outfield, the runner will be allowed to take the base their going to and one more. We are trying to promote proper baseball running while still not being overly aggressive.
  6. If a ground ball is fielded by an infielder, there is no extra base on an over throw (regardless of the base they throw to (i.e. trying to get the lead runner). Promote kids making the correct baseball play. Should the ground ball get through the infield, then the outfield rule is in place.
  7. Playing catcher only counts as one of a player’s two infield innings. Should a kid catch two innings, they are still required to play one inning at a non-catcher infield position.
    1. On a soft/medium hit ground ball the hitter may advance one base (single).
    2. On a hard grounder or low line drive down the line or in the hole the batter may advanceA pinto team can and should play with 9 roster players. Pinto teams can borrow a player fromanother Pinto team or a Shetland team. A borrowed pinto player will only be allowed to field 9 players. Should your 9th player arrive, your roster 9th player will replace the borrowed player. If your borrowed player is from Shetland, he can be your 10th player.

      Special Shetland Division Local Rules

      1.No game shall be forfeited due to an insufficient amount of players. If at all possible, the game should be played. An official game may be played with eight players. Players from the opposing team may play a defensive position to fill the minimum eight positions.

      2. No game shall continue more than six (6) innings.

      3. A coach/dad of the batting team will pitch to the hitters during the entire game, and the regular Tee-ball rules will still apply. The coach/dad will pitch overhand. Each hitter is allowed 5 pitches. If after the 5 pitches the ball is not hit fair the ball is placed on the tee for the hitter and the game continues. The coach/dad may not field the ball except to protect a player. The defensive team will provide a pitcher to stand next to the coach/dad on his glove side.

      4. The fifth batter in any inning is the last batter who can score. When the fifth batter comes to bat, there are automatically two outs. The two (2) outs are registered before the batter enters the batters box. This rule will be followed throughout the six innings.

      5. A ball must travel more than ten (10) feet to be considered a hit. Less than ten (10) feet will be considered a foul ball. An arc should be drawn on the field to identify the ten (10) foot area.

      6. The batter is to be warned once by his coach for throwing the bat (each time at bat). The second time during an at bat the batter is called back to bat again and the runners return to their original positions. A batter should not be called out unless it occurs every swing and the game is delayed.

      7. Batting out of order is not strictly enforced, especially when a player is in the restroom. As soon as the player returns to the bench, he should be the next batter. Resume the regular lineup from there. Deliberate batting out of order will be handled under regular baseball rules. Remember, the only one hurt by the deliberate change in order is the player.

      8. All batters and base runners must wear batting helmets until they cross home plate and enter the dugout. Should a base runner’s helmet fall off, he must continue to the base he is heading to. If the helmet is deliberately thrown off, play stops and runners advance to the base(s) they were headed.

      9. The following hitting/base running rule is to be used to promote base running awareness and outfield/infield skills.

      a. On a soft/medium hit ground ball the hitter may advance one base (single).

      b. On a hard grounder or low line drive down the line or in the hole the batter may advance two bases (double).

      c. On a hit over the infielder’s head where the ball stays in front near the outfielder, the hitter may advance two bases (double).

      d. On a hit over the infielder’s head that clearly gets by the outfield the hitter may advance three bases (triple).

      e. On a hit over the outfielder’s head, the hitter may attempt a home-run.

      f. Runners on base at the time of the hit may advance as many bases as the hitter is entitled; if a runner takes too many bases, send him back.

      g. The defense should attempt to put out any advancing runners. NO BASES AWARDED FOR OVERTHROW. The defense should try to make the play.

      h. No delayed running is allowed. Once the ball is in the infield the play is dead.

      i. If a hit is a close call, the coach will choose the conservative option.

      j. If a runner overruns another runner, send him back to the last base of the possession and explain the rule to him

      10. Base runners are NOT permitted to steal or lead off base. Penalty: Play stops, and re-play.

      11. When a runner interferes with a fielder fielding a batted ball, the runner is out.

      12. When a fielder not fielding the ball interferes with a runner, the runner is safe and allowed the base he was heading to.

      13. A coach or older child is used to field the catching position. The catcher CANNOT enter the field of play. There are no plays at the plate. Outs will only be allowed in the field of play. It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure this rule is understood by the catchers, players, and parents.

      14. There will be four outfield positions. They must be played in the outfield grass. There are nine defensive players.

      15. The pitcher and the first baseman must wear helmets with facemasks.

16. Softcore game balls shall be provided to the managers and supplied by the home team.

17. Each player will play a minimum of four (4) full innings in the field. The players will be rotated to a different position (or sit out) each inning. Do not sit players two (2) consecutive innings. No player can play the same infield position more that two (2) innings in a game (that means a minimum of three (3) players at each position per game.) All players will play the infield at least two (2) innings in each game. Through the course of the season each player should be rotated to every position.


Prior to playoffs, coaches will be provided modified rules. During playoffs, playoff rules will supersede regular season rules.